New Publication Announcement: Comparing in vitro human liver models to in vivo human liver using RNA‑Seq

As a member of the EU-ToxRisk consortium, Cyprotex is dedicated to reducing the need for animal testing, and as part of an integrated, collaborative effort, continues to contribute towards advancing a programme of mechanism-based toxicity testing and risk assessment suitable for the 21st century.

In vitro human cell models provide a viable alternative to animal testing, providing a variety of benefits including the ease by which the mechanisms of toxicity, enzyme kinetics and concentration-response relationships can be measured.

This collaborative study with our colleagues from the EU-ToxRisk consortium, titled ‘Comparing in vitro human liver models to in vivo human liver using RNA-Seq’ was published this month in the Archives of Toxicology. The study used RNA-sequencing to analyse several in vitro human liver cell models and compare them to human liver tissue with the aim to characterise which of these models closely mimics healthy human liver tissue.

The in vitro liver cell models examined included:

  • HepG2
  • HepaRG 3D
  • iPSC-HLCs (induced pluripotent stem cell-derived hepatocyte-like cells)
  • hPCLiS (human precision cut liver slices)
  • PHH (primary human hepatocytes)
  • 3D liver microtissues

Several different approach methods were applied to analyse the similarity of the in vitro liver cell models to healthy human liver and by using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, a more meaningful, holistic comparison can be achieved. Baseline expression levels and gene regulatory networks were used in conjunction with more comprehensive methods investigating non-differentially expressed genes and differential transcript usage. The paper discusses the results of these analyses and offers insight into the use of in vitro human liver cell models with a view to more accurately mimic the in vivo environment.

Click here to read the paper.

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